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As I have posted before, Chinese influence in the world is spreading, something that, with its present state about Human Rights, is far from good. From Yahoo:

For years, China’s booming economy touched daily life in the West most visibly through the “made-in-China” label on everything from clothes to computers. But now, economic growth is giving rise to something more that can’t be measured just by widgets and gadgets — a shift in China’s balance of power with the rest of the world.

China’s reach now extends from the Australian desert through the Sahara to the Amazonian jungle — and it’s those regions supplying goods for China, not just the other way around. China has stepped up its political and diplomatic presence, most notably in Africa, where it is funneling billions of dollars in aid. And it is increasingly shaping the lifestyle of people around the world, as the United States did before it, right down to the Mandarin-language courses being taught in schools from Argentina to Virginia.

China, like the United States, is also learning that global power cuts both ways. The backlash over tainted toothpaste and toxic pet food has been severe, as has the criticism over China’s support for regimes such Sudan’s.

To understand why China’s influence is increasingly pushing past its borders, just do the math.

When 1.3 billion people want something, the world feels it. And when those people in ever increasing numbers are joining a swelling middle class eager for a richer lifestyle, the world feels it even more.

If China’s growth continues, its consumer market will be the world’s second largest by 2015. The Chinese already eat 32 percent of the world’s rice, build with 47 percent of its cement and smoke one out of every three cigarettes.

Continue reading…

Related news.

China farmer Activist Arrested for Advocating “No Olympics, But Human Rights”.

China passes law censoring Disaster and Accidents Coverage.

Related posts:

Ban Ki-Moon: The main cause of Darfur problems is….

China launches Nigerian satellite.

Sudan, the UN ambassador, the rebels: why it is necessary a general denounce of the silence of the MSM on the Darfur crisis?

Chinese PM launches Africa tour

China’s oil policy

Chinese new arsenal

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More about Nebraska’s University affair:

Officials of the Omaha, Nebraska archdiocese are expressing a growing impatience with the Jesuit-run Creighton University, the Associated Press reports.
Although university officials this week cancelled plans for a campus lecture by Anne Lamott, a novelist who is an advocate of legal abortion and euthanasia, archdiocesan leaders remained unhappy with the direction of the university, the news service revealed in an August 31 report.
[…]In announcing a mutual agreement to cancel the lecture, Creighton had said that Lamott’s views on suicide and euthanasia had only recently come to the attention of school officials. But the novelist’s agent told Associated Press a quite different story, saying that the school had deliberately asked Lamott to avoid those issues during her lecture.

The lecture was cancelled thanks to blogpower! Je. 😆

There is another important initiative for the pro-life movement: a Mexican church has presented the Declaration of Human Rights of the Unborn:

The declaration, which contains ten principles that state that the unborn have the right to be recognized as individuals of the human race, will be delivered to the Mexican Congress in support of an amendment to the constitution.

Congresswoman Beatriz Garcia Reyes, who was present at the signing, said the initiative could bear “much fruit,” and she rejected the idea that such proposals to defend life should only occur when politically expedient. The unborn and their rights should always be defended, she added. She also called for legislative reform in order to define the unborn as an individual and a person under the law.

I like the idea, even if our establishment doesn’t.

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Even if looks like the Nahr El Bared’s crisis in Lebanon has ended, it is far from it. Last post from Blacksmiths of Lebanon shows us the hard reality:

They left booby-trapped TVs and radios on, so that when soldiers went to turn them off, they would explode… They also played recordings of crying babies, which lured soldiers into buildings and rooms which would then be detonated.

😯 😯 Yeah, I know than in love and in war nothing is forbidden (or something like that), but this… this is treacherous…

And:

Naharnet has just reported that

Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza on Thursday ordered police to launch an investigation into a video game about the storming of Premier Fouad Saniora’s government compound and the killing of all the ministers.

Sympathetic and peaceful the video game, eh???

Just read the entire post.

Last news are that the “Militant held camp has fallen to Lebanese Army“:

Hours after the army killed 32 militants and captured at least 15 others as they tried to break out of the Nahr el-Bared camp, only occasional gunfire could be heard inside.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the last stronghold of Fatah Islam militants fell later in the day to the army, which captured five wounded militants in their hideout.

Celebratory gunfire erupted in nearby villages as soon as the news spread. Dozens of residents took to the streets of Mohammara, waving Lebanese flags and honking their horns as troop convoys poured into the area with soldiers flashing victory signs.

The army, which said it lost five soldiers in the recent violence, was not ready to formally declare an end to fighting in the camp, large parts of which have been destroyed by army bombardments in the months long siege. The military said three soldiers were killed in Sunday’s fighting and two on Saturday, raising to 158 the total number of troops killed in the conflict.

A military statement early Sunday said troops were attacking the remaining militant strongholds inside Nahr el-Bared and “chasing the fugitives outside the camp” who had staged “a desperate attempt to flee.” It called on Lebanese citizens to inform the nearest army patrol of any suspected militants in their area, but gave no specifics on casualties except saying “a large number” had been killed or captured.

We will see what happens next here.

You can read more in Tears for Lebanon.

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Futures’ markets are following the same evolution than they had before 9-11. Is this a sign of something? h/t Barcepundit. Pastorius has written a very clear post at IBA about the matter.

The blogosphere and options trading desks have been rife with speculation about these trades, which are unusually large bets that the market will make a huge move in the next month. Some entity, or entities, has taken a large position on extremely deep in the money S&P 500 options, both puts and calls, that won’t pay off unless the market undergoes an extremely large price move between now and the options’ expiration on Sept. 21.

Fast forward to the present day, and we have the same type of trading that took place in the days that preceded the 9/11 attacks – but on a larger scale. Nearly $1 billion of “put options” have been purchased, basically betting that Standard and Poor’s 500 index will fall significantly by the third Friday in September. A large number of these options have also been purchased calling for 50% decline by September 21, 2007. For example, a 5% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average would be the current equivalent of about 670 points. A decline of 11% would equal about 1,470 points in today’s market. Obviously, larger drops, such as a 50% decline, would cause an unprecedented market collapse. Money would be made for the purchaser(s) of the put options – but the same purchaser(s) stand to lose over $1 BILLION in the investment if the market remains relatively static through September 21, 2007.

And let’s see: we have the real state lending problems…

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Lastly, you can read about the new film of Brian de Palma by Roger L. Simon:

Meanwhile, what used to take a lot of my time has a way of encroaching on my present reality. Apparently, someone I used to know…Brian DePalma… may have resurrected his career, seemingly scoring a hit at the Venice Film Festival with his new film “Redacted.” The subject is a particularly gruesome real-life rape case, concerning a 14-year old Iraqi girl raped by US servicemen who also murdered her family.

Now I don’t know the details of this case. (Some of the servicemen involved have been given long sentences and it sounds truly hideous.) Yet, according to Reuters, the film is halfway between documentary and fiction. This to me is a highly suspect form, especially when based on recent events (2006), which are more verifiable than most. You would think the truth would be enough.

But what interests me more is Brian’s selection of material and his intention, as he states it, to stop the war. “The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war,” he said.

That is why I am sick of generalizations. We cannot make one lonely incident as if it were what has been happening every day. And that is why I can’t stand people who are not balanced enough in their judgement, not seeing both what is good and what is bad, and then trying to make others think like them. You know, Brian de Palma, it’s very sad for me :mrgreen: but I only have seen two of your films (The untouchables of Elliot Ness, a very good film, very different from this one , and Mission: Impossible, -though better than the two sequels: in the second, they totally messed up the Sevilla’s Easter processions and the Valencia’s Fallas, which have nothing to do- [I had mistaken the second for the first 😳 😀 ]). And really, with this kind of marvellous introduction of good judgement and balanced statements, I’m also not going to see this. Cause as lawhawk writes, you cannot make us going to the cinema:

Director Brian DePalma has unveiled his latest movie, which is nothing less than a character assassination of all US troops based on a heinous criminal acts by a unit of US soldiers. Those soldiers have been tried and convicted for their crimes by the US military, but DePalma sees no problem with using the incident to further his anti-war, anti-military, and anti-US views. [and anti-common sense… that is the worst of all…].

That’s completely within his perogative. He can produce any movie he wants – he just can’t make you go see it.

I have no interest in seeing the movie. I only wonder why he didn’t bother to make a movie showing what al Qaeda was doing to Iraqis on a daily basis – the kidnappings, mass murders, and the beheadings. Are those not sufficient to churn stomachs, or was the international audience going to salivate more over an anti-war/anti-US movie than one that shows the true evil of al Qaeda and might actually justify a continued US presence in Iraq to eradicate the al Qaeda operating there?

Showing what al Qaeda was doing to Iraqis? And then some people call me “innocent”… Well, lawhawk, with all due respect, that is to be candid. Hollywood’s doing a good film blaming the real people who are to blame? No, of course not: they could be a terrorist target! Just imagine George Clooney or similar feeling himself really hunted by those militants, freedom fighters and men of peace. Huh! Of course not.

By the way, that thing about the international audience: the 16 Spanish films who have raised more money, have raised less than Spiderman in Spain. But the Spanish Government is going to make Spanish taxpayers pay € 85 millions to produce the usual garbage: pro-communism, against the Catholic Church and the right-wingers and about the Spanish Civil War (of course, all the right-wingers were warmongers, genocidal types and sadistic killers, while the commumists-socialists were peaceful, art-loving types, who could not kill a fly… 👿 ). But they are not considering the 10 million people who voted PP on 2004, some of then did not agree (and do not agree) with Iraqi war but certainly do not agree either with the MSM about the coverage there.

So, when the film-makers are going to consider that there are other people to see international films? Without considering that this is not something new of this year, but has been the normal situation for a lot of years. And of course, if you have to choose between Lord of the Rings saga and some crap with the subject considered above, the decision is simple. Specially with the prices the cinema halls have these days… 😈

[Oh, and the Spanish film which raised more money was a film of animation “Pérez, el ratoncito de tus sueños” –Pérez, the mouse of your dreams-. There is a legend told to children in Spain: each time a little boy loses one of his first teeth, he/she must put it under his pillow. And the little mouse Pérez will come and give him a coin. So, you see, nothing political, just a pleasure to see…].
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Now playing: Dolores O’Riordan – October
via FoxyTunes

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From Newsvine:

The head of the International Monetary Fund will step down in October for personal reasons, it was announced Thursday, about six weeks after the upheaval at the helm of its sister institution, the World Bank.

My family circumstances and responsibilities, particularly withregard to the education of my children, are the reason forrelinquishing earlier than expected my responsibilities at the Fund,”he said in a statement to the board of the 185-nation lendinginstitution.

De Rato, 58, a former Spanish economy minister, toldthe executive board of the 185-nation lending organization he wouldleave in October after the IMF’s annual meeting.

He was due to end his five-year term in May 2009. He succeeded Horst Koehler, now Germany’s president, in May 2004.

Uff, whatever the people surrounding him says, I really believe he is returning to the next Spanish election campaign. The exact date is not known though, although it could be next October or a little later, in March 2008.

He was a magnificent MP, a terror for PSOE because of his very well-organised brain and his bitter but calm answers. I really would like him again in Spain as Minister, if it’s possible. 😀 [He also made errors, the biggest one in communication policy…].

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Go over to Gateway Pundit, Dinah Lord, and Sugiero for information.

imageIranian bloggers Kamangir, Iranian Plateau (from whose blog I have taken the ohoto of the left), City Boy, Noggr and Serendip have also looked into this.

More links:

Brisbane Times

estación de servicio iraní quemadaIran’s gas rationing sets off violence

Houston Chronicle – 51 minutes ago
By NASSER KARIMI AP Writer © 2007 AP TEHRAN, Iran – Iranians smashed shop windows and set fire to a dozen gas stations in the capital Wednesday, angered by the sudden start of a fuel rationing system that threatens to further increase the unpopularity of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Police were sent to guard some stations after the violence, and there was calm during the day as motorists lined up to fill their tanks under the new restrictions.

The government had been warning for weeks that rationing was coming, but the announcement of its start just three hours before the plan took effect at midnight Tuesday startled people and sent them rushing to get one last fill-up.image

The rationing is part of a government attempt to reduce the $10 billion it spends each year to import fuel that is then sold to Iranian drivers at less than cost, to keep prices low.

Iran is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, but it doesn’t have enough refineries, so it must import more than 50 percent of the gasoline its people use. The government says money saved from subsidies can go to building refineries, improving public transit and creating jobs.

But a hike in gas prices last month and now the rationing are feeding discontent with Ahmadinejad, who was elected in 2005 on a platform of helping the poor and fixing Iran’s ailing economy. His failure to do so has sparked widespread criticism.

This man, Ahmadinejad, has damaged all things. The timing of the rationing is just one case,” said Reza Khorrami, a 27-year-old teacher who was among those lined up at one Tehran gas station late Tuesday.image

Petrol stations torched in Iran after Ahmadinejad rations fuel Times Online
Iran fuel rations spark anger, pump stations burn Reuters AlertNet
Spiegel Online – Los Angeles Times – Telegraph.co.uk – Guardian Unlimited
all 369 news articles »

This ain’t Hell, but you can see it from here writes about the nuclear problem.

Also take a look at A second Hand Conjecture, specially about the unrest against the Mullahs.

Other news from Iran:

  1. Take a look at “Couple tortured for being gay” and “Interview with Fakhravar“, one of the most prominent Iranian dissidents, from City Boy Blog.
  2. Ahmadinejad’s political consultant is his butcher. Doesn’t surprise me really…smile_omg
  3. Iran: End child executions” and “Iranian troops cross into Southern Iraq and attack British troops“. Also “Iran wages war on “inmoral” cell phone messages.
  4. Also read Iran cracks down on dissent by NYT. h/t Free and Secular Iran.

The country’s police chief boasted that 150,000 people — a number far larger than usual — were detained in the annual spring sweep against any clothing considered not Islamic. More than 30 women’s rights advocates were arrested in one day in March, according to Human Rights Watch, five of whom have since been sentenced to prison terms of up to four years. They were charged with endangering national security for organizing an Internet campaign to collect more than a million signatures supporting the removal of all laws that discriminate against women.

Eight student leaders at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University, the site of one of the few public protests against Mr. Ahmadinejad, disappeared into Evin Prison starting in early May. Student newspapers had published articles suggesting that no humans were infallible, including the Prophet Muhammad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The National Security Council sent a stern three-page warning to all the country’s newspaper editors detailing banned topics, including the rise in gasoline prices or other economic woes like possible new international sanctions, negotiations with the United States over the future of Iraq, civil society movements and the Iranian-American arrests.

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Christian Science Monitor has run two very important reports on China and its relationship with Sudan, something I had written about in the past:

In Sudan, China focuses on oil wells, not local needs.

Sudan’s oil production averages 536,000 barrels a day, according to estimates by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Other estimates say it is closer to 750,000 barrels a day. And there is an estimated 5 billion-barrel reservoir of oil beneath Sudan’s 1 million-square-mile surface, almost all of it in the south of the country, an area inhabited mainly by Christian and animist black Africans who fought a 21-year civil war against the Arab-dominated Muslim government of the north.

The vast majority of this oil, 64 percent, is sold to China, now the world’s second-largest consumer of oil. And while neither Khartoum, China, nor Petrodar release any statistics – this is generally believed to be an oil deal worth at least $2 billion a year.

China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is the majority shareholder in both Petrodar and the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company, two of the biggest oil consortiums in Sudan.

CNPC has invested billions in oil-related infrastructure here in Paloich, including the 900-mile pipeline from the Paloich oil fields to the tanker terminal at Port Sudan on the Red Sea, a tarmac road leading to Khartoum, and a new airport with connecting flights to Beijing.

But they have not invested in much else here.

Locals live in meager huts, eating peanuts with perch fished out of the contaminated Nile. There is no electricity. A Swiss charity provides healthcare. An American aid group flies in food and mosquito nets. Most children do not go to school. There is no work to be found. Petrodar, for one, has its own workers – almost all of whom are foreigners (mostly Chinese, Malaysians, and Qataris) or Sudanese northerners. The consortium hires Paloich residents only rarely, for menial jobs.

h/t Desde el Exilio.

And remember the Sudanese genocide in Darfur? Well, err:

How China’s support of Sudan shields a regime called ‘genocidal’

Mercenaries are scooping up contracts here. Arms dealers are flying in and out on the daily flight from Nairobi, Kenya. And the rebels, theoretically out of work, are training full time on the dunes around Juba, South Sudan’s self-proclaimed capital.

Up north, in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, weapons arsenals are filling up, talk is tough, and clear signals are being sent out that the resource-rich south will never be allowed to be independent.

(Map)

More than two years after the north-south peace agreement, and four years before the expected southern referendum on secession – it’s a matter of time, say observers, before the fragile calm blows up, reigniting the 21-year civil war that left 1.5 million dead.

It’s a lull in which both sides are regrouping for the new war,” says a Canadian UN military observer stationed in South Sudan, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Darfur crisis that has killed more than 200,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million in western Sudan continues to rage unabated, helping Sudan earn the top spot on Foreign Policy magazine’s “Failed State Index” for the second year in a row.

The Chinese are as much to blame for this situation as anyone, say critics, and not so much because of their economic policies but because of political ones.

Beijing has “a vested interest in the continuation of a low level of insecurity. It keeps the other major investors out,” charges the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) in a report. The report argues that China welcomes the absence of real peace in Sudan as enhancing its business opportunities, whatever the cost to southern Sudanese civilians: “There is [on the part of the Chinese] an almost total disregard for the human rights implications of their investments.”

This is unacceptable to leaders of the semiautonomous south who say they won’t sit idly by while revenue from Chinese drilling in their oil fields goes mostly to the Arab-dominated government in the north.

“This peace is ugly,” says Daniel Deng Moyndit, a former rebel who now chairs the Government of South Sudan’s parliamentary security committee. “They [Khartoum government officials] are not serious … and any state is entitled to defense in anticipation of aggression.”

Despite this, China doesn’t want another government in charge,” adds a Khartoum-based humanitarian aid worker, speaking on condition of anonymity. “They’re used to dealing with this government.”

While pockets of South Sudan are seeing some economic benefits from the shaky peace, the region in general is shortchanged. The main sore point has to do with years of underdevelopment and a perception that oil revenues are not being shared fairly.

Under the peace deal between north and south, oil profits are to be shared: 50 percent to the south, 48 percent to the north, and 2 to the specific oil-producing areas. But many in South Sudan say this agreement is not being implemented fairly.

Read both. They are very important.

And while this happens, our King and Queen do not suspend their visit to China to pay respects to the fallen because they are “strenghening ties with the Asian giant“.smile_baringteeth

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Although I am not a CIA operative, this is just stating the obvious. We have to think that not only the Islamist countries -for example, Venezuela, ehem- are using our dependency of oil to fight back:

Jihad Watch: Oil dependency is fueling Islamic terrorism: ex-CIA head

Every time an American fills up his gas tank, he is helping to send an eight-year-old boy to an Islamic religious school in the West Bank or Pakistan where he will learn to grow up to be a suicide bomber, said former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey.

Woolsey’s message at a recent fundraiser for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, was that reducing dependency on oil imported from Arab dictatorships may, in the long run, be the only effective means of stemming Islamic totalitarianism and radicalism.

[…] Woolsey warned against “lapsing into moral relativism” by accepting fundamentalist Islamic practices that are contrary to Western values, especially those that degrade women.

Sharia (Islamic religious law) is the camel’s nose under the tent that we need to oppose with every fibre in our being,” he said.

Woolsey said the West has to do more than simply defend itself against the terrorists.

He urged development as soon as possible of oil alternatives, such as electricity and other liquid fuels, for vehicles.

Women’s and human rights organizations also have to put the “absolutely horrible treatment of women in much of the Arab and Muslim world front and centre of their agendas,” he said.

Continue reading… it’s really worth it.

And to prove that this is a real important question: Iran says won’t rule out using oil as a weapon | Top News | Reuters.com

Iran will not rule out using oil as a weapon if the United States resorts to military action against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, an Iranian oil official said in remarks published on Tuesday.
When the Americans say that military action in regard to the nuclear issue has not been put aside, Iran can also say that it will not put aside oil as a tool,” Iran’s OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, told Iran’s Sharq newspaper.
Asked what would be the impact if Iran stopped its oil exports,
Kazempour Ardebili said: “Definitely the market will be faced with a
new shock and oil prices will increase strongly.”
He added that prices would climb above $100 a barrel.

See?

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I wrote some days ago about the possibility of Hamas imposing Sharia Law and how it was feared both by Israelis and Palestinians. Well, it is happening just now:

WorldNetDaily: Christians warned: Accept Islamic law

Christians can continue living safely in the Gaza Strip only if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza told WND in an exclusive interview.

The militant leader said Christians in Gaza who engage in “missionary activity” will be “dealt with harshly.”

The threats come two days after a church and Christian school in Gaza was attacked following the seizure of power in the territory by the Hamas terror group.

“I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.

Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of attacking a United Nations school in Gaza last month, after the school allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack.

“The situation has now changed 180 degrees in Gaza,” said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza yesterday.

“Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” Abu Asqer told WND.

“Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped,” he said. “If it goes on, we’ll attack these things very harshly.”

Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of “proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals.”

Read all…

Anyway, West offers cash and talks to keep Abbas in charge as partner for peace-News-World-Middle East-TimesOnline

America and the European Union moved swiftly to shore up Palestinian moderates yesterday, releasing millions of dollars for the new Government based in the West Bank.

Washington and Brussels announced the lifting of economic sanctions after Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, sacked all members of Hamas, the militant Islamic group, which staged last week’s bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip. In a telephone call yesterday President Bush told Mr Abbas that the US would support “Palestinian moderates”.

Later Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, reaffirmed America’s commitment to the “two-state solution” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, first promised by Mr Bush five years ago. Palestinians faced a choice, she said, between pursuing more violence or peace and a better life.

The US has recognised Mr Abbas and his new Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, as the legitimate leaders of the West Bank and Gaza. Dr Rice promised yesterday that this meant the US would resume normal “government-to-government contacts”.

And from Infidel Bloggers Alliance: Stupid request of the day:

B’Tselem demands that perpetrators of war crimes in Gaza be tried and warns against revenge attacks in the West Bank
The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem today calls on the Palestinian leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip to investigate all war crimes that may have been committed during the clashes in the Gaza Strip, and to bring all suspects to criminal trial.

This happens as Abbas’ aide Yasser Abed accused Iran of being responsible of fomenting the Hamas seizure in Gaza. h/t Desde el Exilio.

UPDATE: GayandRight: Christians under attach in Gaza… Who is going to defend this people??

Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in the Gaza Strip, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church.

The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church,” he said. “Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy
Book, computers and other equipment
.”

Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. “Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations,” he said.

When are going to be the next outraged Christian riots when we will burn Hamas flag? 😦 This is despicable…

(Reuters) – Israel plans to tighten a financial clampdown on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that would choke off all but humanitarian and basic supplies, senior Israeli and Western officials said on Tuesday.
While opening the funding taps to the Western-backed emergency government set up by President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank,
Israel and the United States want to isolate Hamas financially, diplomatically and militarily in the Gaza Strip, which the Islamist group seized by force last week.
To that end, two senior Israeli officials said the plan was to bar Palestinian tax funds transferred to Abbas from reaching Gaza to run Hamas-led agencies and pay workers.
Gaza is a terrorist-controlled entity now,” said one of the Israeli officials, who is working with U.S. officials to isolate Hamas. “No financial assistance can go to any entity or person with connections to the Hamas-run administration in Gaza.”

The humanitarian crisis is going to be outstanding. After last year 14.000 Palestinians flee, now Gazans stream to crossing with Israel – Yahoo! News

Hundreds of terrified Gazans fleeing Hamas rule were trapped at a main crossing with Israel on Tuesday, hoping to gain permission to pass through Israeli territory to sanctuary in the West Bank.

Fearing death or persecution, Gazans began flocking to the Erez passage after Hamas militants wrested control of the coastal strip from Fatah security forces late last week. Israel, which has no interest in letting masses of Gazans pass through its territory and possibly destabilize the quieter West Bank, has refused to let most of them in, saying their lives were not in danger.
By Tuesday, about 600 people were holed up in the long, concrete tunnel that leads to the Israeli side of the crossing. Around 100 people belonged to Fatah security forces, but the rest were civilians, seeking a better life in the West Bank.
Women, children and young men sat between two high concrete walls about 10 yards apart, looking tired and sweaty. Suitcases and trash were strewn on the ground. Some families sat on mats, others on bare concrete. A breeze barely stirred between the walls, and the tunnel, which has no toilets, reeked of urine and sweat.
On Monday, gunmen allied with Hamas disguised themselves as fleeing civilians and hurled hand grenades at Israeli soldiers and Palestinians at Erez, killing a relative of a slain Fatah warlord, and injuring 15 other Palestinians.

UPDATE 3: More about Palestinians fleeing from Israel: My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Palestinians run as they try to cross to the Israel side at the Erez Crossing, in the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, June 16, 2007. Dozens of Palestinians converged on the Erez crossing with Israel on Saturday, trying to leave the Gaza Strip following Hamas’ takeover. At the same time, hundreds of people looted police positions on the Palestinian side of Erez, and at one point Israeli troops fired in the air to keep the crowd at bay. The looters walked off with furniture and scrap metal. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

UPDATE 4: Also read Jules Crittenden’s “Enemy of my Enemy” h/t Abdul in Freedom’s Zone. Abdul writes:

Conveniently, the word Fatah (or Fath) was a specific label Muslims ascribed to the bloody and barbaric expansion of Islam by the sword over its first hundred years (Hmmmm – there’s aclue here somewhere as to their intentions). As an organization, Fatah is one of many borne out of the Muslim Brotherhood. Fatah logo contains two crossed assault rifles superimposed on the land of Israel covered in Islamic green. Qur’anic slogans on the graphic depiction of Fatah’s mission encourages jihad. These days, Fatah conducts its terrorist missions under the name al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. As one writer phrases it, if Fatah was Nazism, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades would be the SS. For those who have lived in a cave since WW-II, this is not something that denotes love and kindness, and tolerance of Jews and infidels that don’t follow the radical line.

UPDATE 5: Don’t laugh: Catholic World News : Gaza convent sacked; Hamas condemns action

Gaza, Jun. 19, 2007 (CWNews.com) – On June 14, a school administered by the Sisters of the Holy Rosary was demolished in the Gaza Strip. In the chapel adjoining the sisters’ convent, the crucifix and a statue of Christ were broken and prayer books burned.

Father Manuel Mussallam, the only Catholic priest currently living in Gaza, denounced the sacking of the school and convent, describing it to AsiaNews as a “barbaric act.” The incident occurred during the course of fighting between two Palestinian factions: al Fatah and Hamas.

Although the school and convent are located near a police station, a spokesman for Hamas– which now controls the Gaza Strip– said that the group was not responsible for the violence against the Catholic nuns. Salah Bardawil said: “The Christians are our brothers in Gaza and everywhere, and we will protect their holy places and school, as we do our Islamic schools.”

We will protect every Christian in the earth the moment they submit. In the meantime, we will ransack their places… to remind them who is in charge…

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BBC NEWS | Business | Yahoo’s China policy rejected h/t Chinaview.

Yahoo shareholders have rejected plans for the company to adopt a policy that opposes censorship on the internet. Proposals to set up a human rights committee which would review its policies around the world, specifically China, were also heavily defeated. Yahoo has been criticized by human rights groups since 2005 for its role in turning over some political dissidents’ e-mails. The materials were used to prosecute and imprison them. But Yahoo insists it must comply with local laws in areas where it operates.

And this happens the day it’s announced that Flickr has problems to be viewed in China… it’s confirmed: Flickr has also been censored.

Do we have to remind about Shi Tao, the blogger condemned to 10 years in prison because Yahoo! gave his personal data to Chinese authorities?

At the same time from The Irrawaddy News Magazine Online Edition:

An Internet anti-censorship activist group in Thailand is distributing free software that will allow access to prohibited Web sites blocked by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology. The Bangkok-based Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) has placed the software and operating instructions o­nline as “a gift of freedom” to the Thai people.

Good!

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